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COVID-19: What does this mean for college exams and graduation?

The agreement was announced by Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, today


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news


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The Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has announced today, 8 April 2020, that alternative arrangements will be made for students due to sit summer exams or take practical assessments in colleges and universities. 

All further education institutions and higher education institutions will not be holding written, oral, or practical exams on-site this year while the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic continues.

Alternative arrangements for exams

The Minister has said that colleges and universities will be offering alternative arrangements for students to take their end-of-year exams. This includes online exams, written assignments, or rescheduling any assessment that can’t be done online.

What if I am unable to take part in the online exams?

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the agency responsible for qualifications in Ireland, have said that students who are unable to take part in the alternative assessments will not be punished for this.

They have asked colleges and universities to make sure to be aware of the needs of students who are faced with challenges when it comes to taking the alternative exams, including:

  • Students who have become unwell with COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
  • Those who are caring for other people
  • Those with limited broadband access
  • Students from overseas
  • Students with disabilities
  • Students with mental health issues
  • Work-based learners

What does this mean for my graduation?

The Minister has asked colleges and universities to focus on students who are due to graduate this year and to make sure they have clearly communicated the plans in place.

While most students expecting to graduate this year should be able to do so, it may not be possible for all students to graduate when they expected. If there are exams or assessments that cannot be done online, these students may have to wait until they can be rescheduled.

Speaking on this, Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “University and college students need clarity on exams and assessments, particularly those in final year.” She continued, “Importantly, I would like to reassure students that even though alternative arrangements have been put in place standards will be upheld. We can all be confident that qualifications achieved this year will be valued and regarded exactly as in any other year.”

“I would like to wish all students using new ways to undertake exams and assessments in the near future the very best of luck. I am sure that your hard work and perseverance will be fully rewarded.” Minister Mitchell O’Connor said.

Handling exam stress during COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

This is a stressful time, which makes it difficult to focus when you’re trying to study or get work done. Here are some ways to manage exam stress during COVID-19.

Feeling overwhelmed or anxious around your exams or the current pandemic?

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Published April 8th2020
Last updated August 7th2020
Tags covid-19
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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